PTSD treatment in Orange County, CA
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PTSD Treatment in Costa Mesa

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During an American’s lifetime, one in thirteen people will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and women are twice as likely to develop this disorder. PTSD was officially established as a disorder in 1980 by the American Psychiatric Association due to the trauma people experienced during the Vietnam War. Over time, PTSD has been known to be associated with trauma of all kinds and mental health professionals can now offer a variety of treatments.

Safe & Sound Treatment in Costa Mesa offers premiere treatment for PTSD, as well as services for most other behavioral and mental health conditions. Our experienced team can help put together an effective, personalized treatment plan to help you or your loved one find relief.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event that the individual has either witnessed or experienced. A person may not develop PTSD immediately after the traumatic event, as it may take six months or longer to experience symptoms.

After experiencing a traumatic event, it is normal to feel afraid because you have often triggered the “fight or flight” response where your body is trying to protect itself from harm. Fight or flight is associated with hormonal changes and physiological responses that help a person either fight or flee to safety. Most people recover from this response, but people with PTSD, continue to feel symptoms associated with the body’s reaction to protect themselves.

If untreated, PTSD can cause individuals to develop substance use disorder (SUD), depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Causes & Risk Factors

Not everyone that lives through a traumatic event will develop PTSD, but some individuals may be more at risk for developing the disorder than others. Genetics can make an individual more likely to develop PTSD and women tend to develop this disorder more often than men.

Some of the causes and risk factors include:

The experience of traumatic events is a common risk factor and cause for people with PTSD. Understanding what is considered a traumatic event can help identify your risks for developing this debilitating disorder. 

Kinds of traumatic events that can lead to PTSD include but are not limited to:


The symptoms associated with PTSD may not appear right away and instead appear 6 months or later. If untreated, PTSD symptoms can come and go for many years and can vary over time. These symptoms can cause serious disturbances in the individual’s life with relationships as well as social and work situations.



  • Attempting to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Attempting to avoid places, people, or activities that remind you of the traumatic event


  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having angry outbursts

Cognitive and mood

  • Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings of guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities


  • Flask backs – reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) manual is used for assessing and diagnosing mental disorders. According to the DSM-5 criteria, a person must present at least one symptom from each category of symptoms in order to be diagnosed with PTSD.

Additionally, specify whether they have dissociative symptoms which are depersonalization and derealization. Depersonalization is when a person experiences recurrent feelings of being detached from their mental processes or body. Derealization is when a person experiences recurrent feelings that their surroundings seem dream-like or unreal.

A mental health professional will also specify whether the presence of PTSD was delayed or happened shortly after the event. If the symptoms associated with PTSD did not occur until at least 6 months after the traumatic event, the person would be diagnosed with delayed expression.

Treatment for PTSD

PTSD is a treatable condition that is often treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy) and if severe, medication. A therapist and psychiatrist can create a treatment plan that will best fit the individual’s needs.

At Safe & Sound Treatment in Costa Mesa, our professionals can create a customized plan for you or your loved one. Our treatment plans for PTSD will include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), or medication if the client’s condition would benefit from these treatments.


Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a type of psychotherapy that is commonly used to help people who are struggling with PTSD. EMDR focuses on altering the emotions, thoughts, and responses resulting from the traumatic event by using eye movements and rhythmic stimulation.

EMDR involves an eight phase approach to work through the past, present, and future time periods with a focus on past trauma and related events. A therapist will start by getting a history from the client and making sure they are prepared with coping tools for emotional distress. Once the therapist finds their client to be ready, they will process through the traumatic event with EMDR. EMDR is considered successful once the client is able to establish a physiological equilibrium regarding the event.


Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy used to help people identify and address destructive behaviors and thought patterns. When CBT is used to treat people with PTSD this technique is applied directly to the traumatic event. The focus during therapy is identifying, understanding, and changing thought patterns and behaviors related to the cause of your PTSD.

When a therapist is treating someone with PTSD, they may employ the technique of exposure therapy which involves the patient being exposed to trauma and reminders of trauma in a controlled and collaborative way. The technique of education and planning can help the patient learn about common reactions to trauma and teach them to manage stress.


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used to help treat PTSD symptoms. The FDA has approved sertraline and paroxetine for the treatment of PTSD which are SSRIs. The neurotransmitter serotonin is recognized to play a role in the experience of PTSD, which is why SSRIs may be prescribed to help.

A doctor may also prescribe a medication for sleep when you are struggling with symptoms of arousal or intrusion. Medication for sleep may be used while doing EMDR or CBT because insomnia may not be fully resolved in all patients from these therapies and the patient may take time to reap the benefits of these therapies.

Costa Mesa PTSD Treatment

Safe & Sound Treatment offers PTSD treatment to residents of Orange County, CA. Our Mental & Behavioral Health Center in Costa Mesa is designed to be an inviting environment that is conducive to healing the mind, body, and spirit.

If you or someone you know is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, please reach out to us to consider getting help. Our admissions team is prepared to answer any questions you may have about our program.


Primary treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy, such as CBT, EMDR, and prolonged exposure therapy, and medication, like SSRIs and SNRIs, to manage symptoms.

EMDR has been shown to be highly effective for many individuals with PTSD, helping to process and reduce the distress from traumatic memories.

Yes, many individuals with PTSD see significant improvements through psychotherapy alone. Medication may be added to treatment for those with severe symptoms or if therapy alone is not sufficient.

Support from loved ones is crucial in PTSD treatment, providing emotional support, understanding, and encouragement, which can enhance recovery outcomes.

Recovery from PTSD is possible, although the process varies for each individual. Some may achieve full remission of symptoms, while others learn effective coping strategies to manage their symptoms.